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HELLO MOTO. A Piaggio Ciao Racer from Italy’s OMT Garage

Posted on July 6, 2017 by Andrew in Moped, Racer. 13 comments

It’s not often we go to Italy. And it’s not often we feature mopeds, either. Hell, it’s not often that a bike goes largely unnoticed by our crack team of moto-loving freaks. But that’s exactly the perfect storm type scenario that unfolded on our recent trip to the continent. Last month, Marco and Mario from Italy’s talented OMT Garage flashed us a phone photo of his Deus Bike Build-Off winning ‘Silhouette’ Piaggio Ciao. With our focus on the show’s larger capacity offerings, we clearly let this little green gem slip under our radar. But now, many months later, we’re smitten. And not a moment too soon.

Impressively, the OMT brand was born in 1978 from the mind of the boy’s father, Gaetano. Instilling a combination of moto passion and technical innovation into the business, the two young brothers pretty much grew up in the shop. And since they have taken over the reins, they have transformed the company into a modern and now famous moto garage. Famous, because the brothers managed to win Italy’s inaugural Lord of the Bikes reality TV show in 2016.

But why a moped, you may ask? “As with most Italians, a moped was the first motorcycle my brother and I had when we were 14 or so,” says Mario. “This is probably why Marco and I felt we had to honour it.” The bike is a 1982 Piaggio Ciao PX. Or, more correctly, it was a Ciao. With its newly reinforced and modified chassis, bespoke tank and racing fairings, it’s now the Ciao’s long-lost, speed freak cousin.

Designed for racing, the bike’s final shape is low and slender, hence the name ‘Silhouette’. Lengthened to add stability at speed and lowered to have the best aerodynamic cross-section, the bike’s aluminium fairings and tail-piece sits close to the bike’s wheels for the lowest possible profile. A nicely retro and ridiculously light cork saddle and a tiny hand-made tank were added to further reduce the weight to the absolute minimum. Just beware of those crosswinds.

There’s an engine in there somewhere…

Piaggio Ciao fans (there has to be some out there) will notice that the lower part of the chassis is almost the same as the original unit. Mario notes that this was on purpose, as it’s the most identifiable part of the bike’s original design. Lose that, and it just ain’t a Ciao any more. And the hardest part of the job? “Modifying the front fork to get the perfect, rounded shape we wanted took almost 40 hours to get right”.

Not for touring, then

The boys went to town on the little two-stroke, increasing it’s capacity to 75cc, up from the factory’s 49cc, adding electronic ignition, a 19mm carb, a hand-made exhaust and a lightened flywheel. Add to this some genuine slick tires (we never knew they made them that thin) and the race is almost won before its run.

The diavolo is in the details

With the from brake now removed, there is only the rear brake to stop you after you cross the line. It’s activated with the lever on the left of the bars, while in an interesting variation on the normal state of play, the lever on the right manages the throttle. All up, the boys spent a very fruitful two weeks building the bike for the show. For one of the nicest moped we’ve ever seen, that’s got to be time well spent.

[ OMT Garage – Facebook – Instagram | Photos and thanks to Deus Milano ]

  • lennymccall


  • revdub

    Cool racy ped. Fairing and tank are the centerpiece.

  • AB

    Opening my computer my initial reaction was … WTF!! But I really like the wee beast.

  • Jeff Wilkening

    Cool and unique.
    Not sure about the seat though, I think it might end up somewhere you don’t want it.

  • Al
  • guvnor67

    So kool the penguins are jealous. Absolutely superb!

  • kyle fitzgerald

    Awesome! Great color choice too.

  • pgroot

    Great attention to detail and I really do love mopeds but this thing is all aesthetic no ride in a way that bums me out. Squirrely steering geometry, back breaking riding position (a ciao is small even for a moped so the extreme cafe stance is gonna fold your spine in half) and the “Handmade pipe” looks to be a small section of tube- 2 strokes need back pressure!

  • amazing bike. really unique design.

  • Very, very cool.

  • Don Arnold

    40 hours and the front suspension no longer goes up and down, but the trail varies when you hit the brakes. Should be entertaining!

  • Kyril Dambuleff

    Probably the most radical design ever to appear on pipeburn since Chicara Nagata’s “Security Camera” bike, the ’66 Little Honda P25. Seriously extraordinary. The kind of talent that makes you want to go on a pilgrimage to that workshop and say to the builder, “Can I buy you a drink, or two, and can I just sit in the corner and watch you work?” But why “HELLO MOTO”? When it really should be “Praying Mantis”.

  • So funny to page through dozens of motorcycles then be stopped in your tracks by a moped but this thing is stunning. It’s just a piece of art! Very nice!